Quoting Laura Hudson (Culture Editor, The Verge):
Contemporary science fiction often feels fixated on a sort of pessimism that peers into the world of tomorrow and sees the apocalypse looming more often than not. At a time when simply reading the news is an exercise in exhaustion, anxiety, and fear, it’s no surprise that so many of our tales about the future are dark amplifications of the greatest terrors of the present. But now more than ever, we also need the reverse: stories that inspire hope.
That’s why, starting on January 14th, we’ll be publishing “Better Worlds”: 10 original fiction stories, five animated adaptations, and five audio adaptations by a diverse roster of science fiction authors who take a more optimistic view of what lies ahead in ways both large and small, fantastical and everyday.
Thus an animated scifi series published at a science, technology and pop culture online magazine comes to being.
According to Hudson, “Better Worlds” is partly inspired by [Neal] Stephenson’s fiction anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future as well as Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, a 2015 “visionary fiction” anthology written by a diverse array of social activists, and edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown.
The spark: the act of imagining a more equitable, sustainable, or humane world is itself producing speculative fiction, which in turn creates a space and energy to inspire more hopeful dreamers to imagine yet more forward progress.
The stories for this anthology are:
“A Theory of Flight” by Justina Ireland
A daring plan to build an open-source rocket could help more people escape Earth.
“Online Reunion” by Leigh Alexander
A young journalist chronicling a vintage e-pet reunion gets more than she expected.
“A Model Dog” by John Scalzi
An overbearing CEO demands that his employees engineer a solution to his dad’s aging dog.
“Monsters Come Howling in their Season” by Cadwell Turnbull
An island commonwealth integrates an AI to defend itself against a worsening hurricane season.
“St. Juju” by Rivers Solomon
A young woman must choose between her secure enclave and the one she loves.
“The Burn” by Peter Tieryas
As people around the world fall victim to The Burn, AR researchers begin to suspect a pattern.
“The Sun Will Always Sing” by Karin Lowachee
A spacecraft carrying precious cargo embarks on a lifetime journey to a better world.
“Skin City” by Kelly Robson
A street performer gets into trouble after falling for a radical privacy devotee.
“Move the World” by Carla Speed McNeil
Once in your life, you can choose to pull a lever that resets the world — but will it make things better?
“Overlay” by Elizabeth Bonesteel
A father undertakes a dangerous mission to save his captured son.
“Machine of Loving Grace” by Katherine Cross
An AI designed to moderate video games takes on a life of its own.
No word yet on whether this might be a yearly ongoing series, or if it will only this one shot. An optimistic fan of science fiction might hope The Verge will someday produce more.